Friday, December 08, 2006
Art is in the Eye of the Beholder
Loralei is a wonderful human being.
Her parents named her well. She fits the name perfectly. Or did she grow into it?
Loralei is a slight woman, she has twinkly eyes that envelop you in love and humour. She always looks like she is up to mischief or is at the gate to give a melodious laugh to accentuate the end of your witty story. She has a good nature. She is always doing good for the less fortunate and never talks about it. She would never think to boost her self importance up when she helped someone who was down. She really is the Florence Nightingale of our time. She has wiped many a brow, she has brought forth so much to our world that I am blessed to call her my friend.
So, when Loralei's husband called to say he wanted to throw a party to mark her 50 years on earth, there was an overwelming response as a hundred and fifty people drove from far and wide to celebrate her marvellous life with youthful abandon. People came from as far as Dubai, people came from her hometown and we rented a car, and travelled four hours by car as we could not miss such an opportunity to celebrate Loralei's life.
It was a grand fabulous party .There was a band in her dining room that was playing some great old tunes that Loralei loved. There was dancing, there was laughter, there was endless food and long, lost, friends gathered together. We all had a few more laugh lines and a few tear stains for those who were not with us but it truly felt like an intimate family function with 150 of your most closest of friends .
Our Pied Piper was Laralei and the lilt of her laughter have us all transfixed and unified in our love of her.
With the party winding down, Loralei looked at me and said that she was so genuinely, glad that I came to her party as she had something for me.
This is so typical of Loralei, her birthday and yet she has something for me.
She took my hand and brought me into the dining room where the band had just cleared up their geer, people were still milling about and I could not figure out what she had for me. Then she pointed to a picture on the wall. It was a 40 by 46 painting.
Now, please bare with me, as I have not told you dear reader about Loralei's 'hobby'.
I LOVE Loralei, I adore Loralei, she is one of the finest people I know on this earth, I would never want to hurt Loralei, but I have a deep, dark, secret, dear reader...
A secret about Loralei.
Loralei paints pictures.
Her technique is amazing. She has the strokes right down patt.She has mastered shadows, mastered colour, she is a fine technical painter. She paints so close to the object,in such fine strokes you can not see the beginning or end of her brush.
All that being said, she never stands back to look at what she has painted.
So, all her paintings of humans are ... off... there is something not right, the faces tend to be slightly escue, the eyes off balance or ever so slightly cross eyed, or maybe the lips do not line up with the nose, or it may be something that you can not put your finger on what is wrong with the painting per say...Some how most of her subjects look a bit? A bit? Derranged.
So,when she lead me to this 40 by 46 painting. I was in shock.
'This is for you... 'she says.
I was flabbergasted... I could not tear my eyes away from it. What is it???
'Why Loralei that is just too nice, Thank you... It's it's beautiful...'
'Pendullum, I've worked on this for years, It's Scooter when she was a baby. Remember that picture you took? and I told you how much I loved it..and then you gave me a copy... Remember???' she says as she alooks at me, she has those beautiful sparkly eyes imploring me to take another look at the painting further.
It was hard to focus on the magnitude of this painting.
This portrait of a sleeping alien, with the huge bublous head and the long eyebrow was supposed to be my baby?
This 40 by 46 picture is, Scooter???
Quick Pendullum, recover, recover!!!! Loralei is still looking at me and not the painting. Waiting for me to recognize my off spring in her work.
My mind is quickly scanning through every photograph I have ever taken of my daughter trying to find something familiar something to bring me to the recognition of my daughter being the sleeping alien in front of me... And then I remember... Thank goodness! I remember!
'Ohhh, now I rememberrrrr..... New York???? Scooter was a year,,, yes! yes! Loralei that was so long ago. She is nine now. You have floored me. Brought me back!!! Yes, I am sooooo not used to thinking of her as a baby anymore.'I can now announce with confidence.
I then add,'Oh Loralei is it is far too generous. Ohhh, my gawd, it was so long ago when she was that size... I 'm overwelmed. It is so beautiful. Thank you...'
BoyWonder happens to be walking by, on his way to the kitchen to replenish his beer supply and joins us. I can not give him the low down. I do not have the chance prepare him for this. I have no time to monitor what will come out of his tadd tipsy lips....
'BoyWonder, ahhh look!!!' As I point to the alien painting. 'Loralei has giving us this beautiful painting...' I say with a manic, ,high pitched shrill of a voice so that he knows this is no joke.
Ohhhh??? And then he follows me finger pointing to the larger than life painting. He looked as though he just came upon a train wreck... A horror in the eyes, a mouth slightly agape, he could not pull your eyes away from the painting.
'Why Loalei. it is beautiful but we can not take this' he flatly states.
But you must... I insist...It is my absolute favourite picture of a baby sleeping...' exclaims Loralei.
'Well, then you must keep it!' he eagerly retorts.'We can not take something that is so generous!'
'But, ' protests Loralei, 'It's Scooter, I painted it for you guys... It's the blue matt isn't it? Too much? I knew that blue matt seemed too extreme.'
'SCOOTER?' BoyWonder says a bit louder than needed and now he turns from the portrait and is looking at me for guidance.'No Loralei, the blue matt is great! Scooter?'
'Yes, Honey, It's Scooter... It was so long ago, she's nine now but think back...' I say manically nodding at him.
"Are you sure? Are you sure it's, Scooter?' he inquires.
'Honey, it is.' I say louder than normal with a great deal of frantic enthusiasm on my face. ' Loralei painted it from a picture I took years ago... Look at the hands, Scooter still holds her hands that way when she sleeps...'
BoyWonder looks at me again like I am crazy and realizes that he better save grace. He now begins to search the painting for some semblence of our daughter. 'Ohhhh yes,' he says while nodding 'It is Scooter?'
And then Loralei's husband walks in with his martini... He, too has been a bit overserved. He walks over to us and follows our horrified stares to the painting.
He looks at the painting and states 'Isn't that the UGLIEST baby you have ever laid your eyes on?'
Loralei just looks at him
'I mean, the parents of this alien may have taken to eating thier young. Geez, that is one UUUUUUHHHHGLLLLY kid!'
'Scooooooter?' as she nods our way.
'Who the hell, is Scooter??? Besides the UUUGGGGLLLLIIIEST baby alive... Talking about SPAWN! Loralei WHAT?'
'Scooter is Pendullum and BoyWonder's baby.' Loralei now adopting the manic high pitched shrill of me.
He looks at me, he looks at BoyWonder, looks at the painting...
We, BoyWonder and I, have not been able to take our eyes off the painting.
'You guys, you guys, know I was joking, Right? I mean she doesn't look like this now... I mean she is a cute kid... Right? Or does she still look like Zoltar? I mean not that this painting looks like Zoltar or anything like that.'
And for the rest of the night Bill followed us around letting us know that he was tipsy and that upon looking closer to the picture she really was a cute baby.
We were saddened the following day when we returned to the home of Lorali and Bill to find no one had yet risen and we can not pick up the painting.
We know the picture will come back to our house, as we know that we will see Loralei over the holidays and there will definitely be the great unveiling of the portrait. Probably with a great deal of pomp and circumstance from Bill.
And the alien will reside in our home in a place of honour. How oftencan one feel so much love with a gift? And when I look at it, I know that I will think of that night of friendship. And when I look at the painting, I guarantee I will see my husband's look of horror and I will see Bill with a Martini in hand,and I will see Loralei's bright, shining face above all else.I will be sent on a journey. And sometimes with art, it can take you to different places with just one image. Sometimes art just does that. It all depends on how you look at it.